Thursday, September 21, 2006

E-mail dialogue with a resident of Thailand

JB -- Eyes Not Sold
TR -- Thailand resident

JB-- "Reports just coming across here(in New York) about the military coup in Bangkok. So far it sounds like no violence, just a done deal. Bars and cabarets still going strong and the military 'apologizes for any inconvenience'...Hope all continues well there."

TR -- "Well, it's 3:40 in the morning here. A call from the states on this just woke me up. So, thought may as well check out the news on TV, see what the fuss is all about. Nope, they have shut down broadcasting, a'la mango republic. Silly me, of course this is the first thing you do when you take over a country with tanks. And no one does this better than the Thais. Decades of practice. It's Coup 101 and here we go again. So let me know what's going on over here when you get a chance. Meantime I'm going back to bed. Tomorrow's just another day in the life of Thailand and the children who run this country. Tee time 9 am."

TR -- "Day two and all's quiet on the Eastern Front. Not a problem, as long as they keep the tanks off the golf course."

JB -- "I'm glad all is well as far as your life goes. I assumed it would be, but it must be a little strange, just as background noise, to know that for the moment you are in a country with no Constitution and presumably no rights of due process. I assume that, de facto, they do exist, but there is no pretense of that being guaranteed. Keep in touch."

TR -- "Due process of law? Constitution? In good ole Siam? Not to be glib but that's what coup d'etats are for over here; to enforce what the system, which does exist on paper, was meant to do, but couldn't. From the courts to the politicians, the police to the civil service employees, all of these institutions are for sale, corrupt to its very core this land is. Thaksin was democratically elected but not without unabashed cold cash in hand "vote buying" in the rural areas where all of his votes came from. Government service jobs are bought and sold at every level with the buyer then requiring "payback" on his investment through bribes, facilitating payments, etc. And on and on the system goes, feeding on itself. An honest person is of no use to anyone within the system. It's a show me the money culture and a military coup becomes the only way to get through it. But it's a coup with the King's blessing and that makes all the difference. Thailand has its methods, albeit more art than science. And it's a lovely country."

JB -- "So can I, without using your name, excerpt our brief back and forth dialogue and turn it into a post on my blog? It would possibly be interesting."

TR -- "Blog away mate. But yes, thanks, no names please. Ten years in a Thai prison would really mess up my single handicap."


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